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Letter: Campus homes don't fix root of problem

Suffolk County Community College president Shaun McKay speaks

Suffolk County Community College president Shaun McKay speaks beside Suffolk County Legis. Sarah Anker during a news conference regarding a study on the idea of creating affordable housing for young people on college campuses at SCCC in Brentwood. (Dec. 6, 2013) Credit: Barry Sloan

The motive of Suffolk County officials to build housing for young adults on local campuses is commendable: to help keep them on Long Island after they finish school. Unfortunately, the focus is on the wrong things ["At home on campus," News, Dec. 10].

Instead, we need to reduce costs for workers and businesses on Long Island. That's the real problem. Businesses are forced to pay higher salaries to employees because the cost of living is so high, mainly due to income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, commuting taxes, medical costs and more. Then government looks at our "high" salaries and says we aren't paying our fair share, and increases our taxes even more.

Businesses are then compelled to reduce their labor forces here, or even relocate to compete in a global economy. This results in even fewer good jobs in the private sector, leaving a disproportionately higher number of lower-paying service jobs, and employment by government agencies, school districts and other public entities. These rely on taxes to pay the bills. It's a downward spiral.

Proposing multifamily, on-campus housing for young adults is a nice gesture, but it hardly addresses the root of this epic problem.

Joe Licari, St. James

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